Editor's note: Hyundai has now won the North American Car of the Year award three times. Earlier versions of this story had an incorrect number of wins.
DETROIT — The Genesis G70 won the 2019 North American Car of the Year at the Detroit auto show, while the Ram 1500 took truck honors and the Hyundai Kona was named top utility vehicle of the year.
This year's winners were selected by a jury of about 60 American and Canadian automotive journalists — including Automotive News reporter Richard Truett and Senior Editor Sharon Silke Carty— from a group of three finalists in each category. A vehicle must have been redesigned or significantly changed to be eligible for the award.
The Genesis G70 beat the Honda Insight and Volvo S60. This is the third win in the car category for Hyundai Motor Group, which won with the Hyundai Genesis in 2009 and the Elantra in 2012. In 2017, its G90 was a finalist but lost to the Chevrolet Bolt.
The Ram 1500 surpassed the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and the GMC Sierra 1500. Only three vehicles were eligible for the truck segment, so by default, all three became finalists. Even though the Silverado, Sierra and Ram were all redesigned this year, the media lavishly praised the Ram for its interior. The Ram has not earned the finalist status since 2013, when the model took home the truck category win.
Reid Bigland, FCA's head of U.S. sales, credited workers at the automaker's two Detroit area plants in Warren and Sterling Heights for the win.
"The fit and finish on this vehicle is phenomenal. It's a team effort to bring a vehicle like this to the market," said Bigland. "It's just a real honor to be nominated for the truck of the year. We've been there before but to win it is much sweeter."
The Hyundai Kona took utility vehicle of the year, beating out the Acura RDX and Jaguar I-Pace. This is the fourth year of the utility category — previously crossovers, SUVs and minivans competed in the truck category. It's also the first time two electric vehicles — the Jaguar I-Pace and Hyundai Kona — competed in the mix.
Yong-woo (William) Lee, CEO of Hyundai Motor North America, said every employee, from designers to the marketing team, played a part in Kona's utility honor.
"This is the first time Hyundai has won the vehicle of the year award and it is something that means a lot to us," he said. "We appreciate the time and effort that's put into this competition. This was an unexpected win for us."